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#NFL Playoffs News and Notes - January 16, 2011

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#NFL Playoffs News and Notes - January 16, 2011

Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Baltimore Ravens 24

The Steelers rallied in the second half to beat the Ravens...Pittsburgh continues to have the Ravens' number in what's becoming one of the NFL's greatest rivalries...Pittsburgh's front seven were "A" students, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette...Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden left the game with a hip injury...Steelers rookie wide receiver Antonio Brown made the biggest play of the game.

For the Ravens, it was another excruciating loss to the Steelers...Ravens defensive end Cory Redding seemed to be the only one to not hear a whistle during a second quarter fumble...The Ravens skill-position players let them down on Saturday...Ravens wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh can't believe he dropped the ball on 4th down to end the game...Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was under constant pressure.

Quarterback play separates the Steelers and Ravens, writes James Walker of ESPN.com.

Green Bay Packers 45, Atlanta Falcons 21

The Packers dominated the Falcons to advance to the conference championship game...Cornerback Tramon Williams came up big in the second quarter...Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers made it look easy on Saturday night...Rodgers credited head coach Mike McCarthy's play-calling for getting the offense into a rhythm...Packers wide receiver James Jones atoned for his dropped passes in the Wild Card game.

Atlanta's secondary had no answers for the Packers' passing attack, bringing the #1-seed's 13-3 season to a screeching halt...Falcons head coach Mike Smith did not offer any excuses after the game...The Falcons' coaching staff will coach the NFC Pro Bowl squad...Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez says retirement is a possibility.

NFL Playoffs News and Notes

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has gotten the most out of the defensive talent on the team, writes Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe.

Former New York Jets defensive lineman Dennis Byrd, who suffered a career-ending neck injury in 1992, addressed the current team last night.

A loss today would be the Chicago Bears' biggest failure since losing Super Bowl XLI, writes David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.

Running and stopping the run will be critical in today's Seattle Seahawks-Chicago Bears game, writes Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune.

Today's NFL birthdays: Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (26), Bills linebacker Pierre Woods (29), Lions linebacker Jordon Dizon (25), Chiefs linebacker Mark Simoneau (34), Chargers linebacker Brandon Moore (32), Redskins offensive tackle Stephon Heyer (27), and free agent offensive tackle Gerald Cadogan (25).

Retired running back Mario Bates (38), defensive tackles Junior Bryant (40) and Mike Wells (40), wide receiver Joe Horn (39), defensive backs Mark Collins (47), Kevin Ross (49), and Will Lewis, who is currently the Seahawks' Vice President of Pro Personnel, turns 53.

The late Dave Brown, who intercepted 62 passes in 14 seasons with the Steelers (1975), Seahawks (1976-86), and Packers (1987-89) would have turned 58 today.

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"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."
"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
"The Bears still suck!"